THREE POEMS by Seela Subhadra Devi

Word Flow.

Since I came of age
don’t remember mother help with writing,
like a bird feeding its fledglings
can’t recall who crammed mouthfills of nourishing crumbs.
I only recollect my mother lament
if I would ever learn my 3 r’s.
Since then, have been pecking words.
In that direction
my certificates blackened with four letters
though quench my hunger
don’t satiate my mind’s appetite.
My self is full of them.
I swallow every letter coming my way
I don’t indulge in it to while away my time.
I chew them hard in my mind, slow and contented
and if gripe grips me midway, I give up.
Sometimes familiar words smear themselves with fresh meanings
get stuck in my throat
but the restless mind is keen as ever.
More……once more
I chew them and chaw
till my blood absorb their juices.
Healthful thoughts when savored
circulate through my body entire, and
my heart echoes health and cheer.
Brain chambers invigorated,
every cell roves with glee.
It is then
transmuted into a meaningful word flow
I well out of my pen.

(Translation based on Smt. Seela Subhadra Devi’s poem “Akshara Pravaham” )

————————————————————-

My Small, Little Poem

Sometimes intermittently
thought gets stuck
mind freezes.
Like a cuckoo looking for a song
when I look for words
letters fly away like birds,
don’t even come in the reach of my pen.
Expecting that somewhere something
would attract my vision
I look beyond horizons.
However far I stretch
magnetizing my glance for filings
not one comes my way,
Like serpents storm- scared
all lines slither away into some pit.
In journals, literary seminars
On TV and Radio
I am still looking for it in nooks and corners.
Castes, creeds and regions,
not knowing where to belong
my small, little poem
is sitting timidly
in the coiled center of heart’s pit.

(translation based on Smt. Seela Subhadra Devi’s poem “Chinni Naa Padyam” )

———————————————————————

Dream Snippets

Like a pen writing
stops exhausted of will
my moving and roving dream
snaps all of a sudden.
In the hangover, still the heart
Continues tossing sensational songs.
Rising from the bright rainbow in the corners of my lips
We spread our heart out bathed in ardor
we stitch our eyelids with sleep’s thread
not prepared to see the world outside.
We invite dreams, but
the botched dream limps.
When we intend running dreams on green pastures
the morning’s routine
scares us even in our dreams.
That is all
like a moonbeam bursting from the coconut leaf edge
moon shreds are spread at the root of the tree.
Collecting the scattered dream snippets
In the ‘pallow’of our saree
we open our eyes.
Like horse in a mill
disinterested we complete our chores
no scope for thought in that.
Finding time
remember the forgotten dream!
Try putting together the pieces.
When have they melted and slipped away
from the washed and dried garment?
There’s not a single sample left!

(translation based on Smt. Seela Subhadra Devi’s poem “Kalala Mukkalu”)

———

Translated by Popuri Jayalakshmi.

Published on thulika.net, March 2003.